Magazine article The Futurist

Environment and Resources

Magazine article The Futurist

Environment and Resources

Article excerpt

* Urbanization will increase global warming. As the National Center for Atmospheric Research projects, the influx of rural populations into cities, particularly in developing countries, could further raise greenhouse-gas emissions by another 25% by mid-century, irrespective of how high total population climbs. On the other hand, aging populations leaving the workforce in industrialized countries may help to reduce emissions and, hence, slow down climate change. --World Trends & Forecasts, Mar-Apr2011, p. 12

* Robotic earthworms will gobble up our garbage. Much of what we throw away still has value. Metals, petroleum, and other components could get additional use if we extracted them, and robotic earthworms could do that for us. Human "earthworm drivers" will direct them to mine landfills, extract anything of value, and digest the remaining heaps into quality topsoil. --Thomas Frey, "More Jobs for Tomorrow," Jan-Feb 2011, p. 36

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* The dust bowls of the twenty-first century will dwarf those seen in the twentieth. Two giant dust bowls are currently forming--one in Asia and one in Africa. These clear indicators of soil erosion and desertification are caused, in varying degrees, by overgrazing, overplowing, and deforestation. Desertification currently affects 25% of the planet's land area, threatening the livelihoods of more than 1 billion people in approximately 100 countries. --Lester R. Brown, "Eroding Futures: Why Healthy Soil Matters to Civilization" and "Dust Bowl Redux," July-Aug 2011, pp. …

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